When we think about the great Disney movies of All-Time, many would immediately list Beauty & the Beast, Sleeping Beauty or even Frozen. However, one film should definitely be named alongside those iconic titles and it might surprise you. I'm talking about, A Goofy Movie.
Now some of you may scoff at this but hear me out. A Goofy Movie may have been a commercial dud at the time, but it's gone on to have quite the cult following. But as opposed to some cult films that are loved for their "camp", A Goofy Movie is a legitimately good film that highlights some very honest themes not to mention features some really catchy music.
Still don't believe me? Well here are five reasons why A Goofy Movie is one of the best Disney films of all-time.
1. "After Today"
When it comes to opening numbers, I'll put "After Today"(performed by Idina Menzel's fiance, Aaron Lohr) on every list of the best that Disney has offered. The song was composed by Tom Snow with lyrics by Jack Feldman. While not as known as the Disney hit makers like Alan Menken and Robert Lopez, these two weren't slouches. Snow was the man behind Footloose's "Let's Hear it for the Boy" and composed music for other Disney films such as Oliver & Company(another underrated film) and Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride. Feldman worked on the original film of Newsies and won a Tony for the stage adaptation.
The incredibly catchy song is near perfect in its intention. EW's Marc Snetiker put it best when he said,
"It’s a classic “Protagonist Walks Through Town in Mid-Morning” song, a beloved musical theater tradition where everyone harmonizes and choreography is improvised yet flawless. A Goofy Movie takes the trope a step further by also making that song an “I want” number, giving Max a bold raison d’etre (to impress his shy ladyfriend Roxanne, arguably the Shailene Woodley of the Goof people). It’s just like Beauty and the Beast, except there are a bunch of teenage dogs making fun of Max for being a loser instead of French people talking about how absolutely awful Belle is for reading."
2. It's honesty about teenage crushes
One thing that A Goofy Movie got painfully right was the awkwardness yet hopefulness of a new crush. The whole premise of the movie surrounds the fact that out of fear that she might like someone else, Max lies to Roxanne about going to a concert in Los Angeles. While this is a bit extreme, it's pretty true to life. I know many of us have probably stretched truths to impress crushes.
And at the film's end(spoiler alert here), even after going to the concert and dancing on stage with Powerline, Max still comes clean about lying to Roxanne in the first place. When she forgives him, there is no over-the-top profession of love. Just a sweet simply kiss and a laugh.
3. The Changing Dynamics of Relationships Between Parents and their Kids
What A Goofy Movie probably gets right the most though, is its depiction of how relationships between children and their parents change as they get older. What was fun when they were 8 might be embarrassing when they become 16.
From Goofy's perspective, he's trying to preserve his close relationship with his son. From Max's perspective, he wants his father to treat him like the young man he is rather than the child he was. Goofy's urgency to reconnect is only heightened by the fact that he is also a single father.
And what is most honest about this, is that these issues aren't addressed until they are basically forced out of both parties.
What this film does so well, is inch these two closer together throughout the movie. It starts with the incredibly moving "Hi Dad Soup" scene, where Goofy reminds Max of how he used to write messages in his alphabet soup. It's a sweet scene that almost brings the two back together without really addressing their issues.
But it's later on in the film where the two have a painfully true to life dialogue in the most unlikely of places.
While trying to stay afloat on top of their car in white water rapids, Max and Goofy finally have it out and address the problems they have with one another. And it leads to this exchange:
Max: "I'm not your little boy anymore Dad! I've grown up! I've got my own life now!"
Goofy: "I know that! I just wanted to be part of it...."
And there it is....I'm going to go call my dad now.
4. Absence of a Villain
Unlike many of Disney's other films, A Goofy Movie doesn't have a villain. While iconic Disney antagonist, Pete, appears, he doesn't play a villainous role here. Instead of a personified villain, the writers and director Kevin Lima allowed Max's lie and the salvaging of the father -son relationship to be the driving conflict in the film. Inserting a villain would have been overkill and unnecessary.
5. Did we mention the music?
Something I found very gutsy about this film is how much music they put in it. As with the case in Disney films, music can either make the film iconic(Beauty & the Beast) or forgettable(Home on the Range). For A Goofy Movie they brought multiple teams of songwriters and composers to put together its soundtrack. It could have been a colossal failure but it was a stroke of genius because there really isn't a bad song in the bunch.
From the road trip friendly "On the Open Road" to the infectious "Lester's Possum Park Theme Song" to the father son ballad "Nobody Else But You", everything seems to strike the right tone.
But it's the film's climatic pop anthem "1 2 I" that takes it to a higher level. Snetiker added,
"There’s the song itself, an explosive dance-pop power anthem that bursts with undertones of MJ and Prince (and anachronistic shades of Bruno Mars). The chorus is catchier than anything Rihanna has released in the last five years, and if you’ve ever found yourself playing this song on a road trip with a bunch of twenty-somethings, you’ll know that it is completely normal to know the syllabic breakdown of the call-and-repeat “Seeing it! Eye to e-eye!” section."
If this song doesn't make you want to breakdown and do the "Perfect Cast", you're a robot.
So if you have the time and are able, take a moment to watch A Goofy Movie, you might just be surprised to see how true to life it actually is....even with a disco dancing Bigfoot.